Reily’s Luck

By Louis L’Amour


Sentimentality… Is there a book that takes your breath away every time you hear or read the title? Or one that breaks through the bricks walls holding the files of your past, releasing a flood of memories and emotions? Louis L’Amour’s 1970 novel Reilly’s Luck does that for me.


I was introduced to Louis L’Amour’s writing by my second mom, Jan Federson, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. Jan, and her husband, Feddy, lived in a large walkout rambler near McCoy Lake in Eden Prairie, when all the roads off Mitchell Road were gravel, and there were only a few houses in the area. Inside and to the left of the front door was a large living room with one wall lined with cupboards on the bottom and shelves on the top. Every shelf was filled with books, as Jan was an avid reader. She loved westerns, and I believe she had every book written by L’Amour. I don’t know how many of L’Amour’s books Jan encouraged me to read, but Reilly’s Luck stuck with me over the years.


The beginning chapters of the book tell how a 4-year-old Val Darrant ends up in the care of Will Reilly, a gentleman who is a gambler by profession and handy with a gun. I was impressionable, and the lessons of observation that Will passed on to Val stuck with me. The story moves on through Val’s adventures with Will, past Will’s death and to Val’s past intertwining with his future.


L’Amour was a good storyteller. If you like westerns, Reilly’s Luck is a good read, though I would have changed the ending.



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